Re: Summer 2010
The problem is this scenario would definitely require Dirk to opt out because he has a player option of 21 million and/or the team not picking up Howard's option. for the season after the 2010 free agent class. Also, you currently have a salary of 43 million( 22 million if dirk opts out) but you only have 5 players under contract this season so unless you sign 10 players to 1 year deals, you won't have as much cap room.
Without dirk and/or howard the Mavs also become much less attractive for Lebron James and others. Personally, I think you are out of the race, but that's just my opinion.